“Please help us to help yourself Miss Nisha. We are going to press charge against you if you fail to provide us with solid proof supporting your alibi.” Aged police officer lean forward and place his hands on the table to depict his authority. At the same moment the female investigating officer came around and placed her hand on Nisha’s shoulder. In a soft possible tone she said “Look Nisha, you are young and belong to a respectable family. A bright career and whole life is ahead of you. All we want from you is truth and all of it. We want to view your case sympathetically but for that you have to tell us everything honestly. “
“Typical good cop –bad cop scenario as seen on TV” Nisha thought. Though the interrogation room is nothing like the filmy scene where a criminal is trembling under a bright light in other wise dark room facing ruthless police officer.”
“But I have already told you everything I know” Nisha became impatient about it. These people are wasting their time and hers too in the process. How can they press charge against her!!
“ Nisha, we got your written statement. We want to hear it again from you. This time please be honest and do not hide anything from us. You have nothing to be ashamed of or afraid. I have a daughter of your age and as a mother I know your sentiment and how you like to experiment with life in this age. “
Something was in her voice that made Nisha think that she means it. She took a deep breath and was searching for words. Experienced officers read the situation and told’ just start from the beginning. We need to understand you before we understand your case. No need to be brief. Just tell us everything. “
Excuse me, will you mind if I sit here? Nisha came closer to the girl busy with her books in the alone bench in the college compound. The small figured girl with a childish look noticed Nisha and smiled. Dimple in her both chicks made her look more adorable.
“Please, be my guest. Actually I was not reading, waiting for the next class to start. It will look natural if I hold a book in front of my face rather than sitting in the bench aimlessly. Just between you and me, I was actually sitting aimlessly till now. Thank god you came, I don’t know what’s wrong with economics nowadays, I could not make out a single meaning out of it for last one hour. I am glad you came; now I can put my book aside and I don’t have to pretend to understand it.”
The girl was full of life and energy. Something friendly was in her voice that made the rare smile appear in Nisha’s face. Laughter is infectious, so is friendly attitude. Nisha sit beside the girl and extend her hand towards her, “Hi, I am Nisha, 1st year, English literature”
“I am Monami; economics got me, nice to meet you. let’s sweeten our friendship” Monami open her handbag to take two chocolates from inside. She put one inside her thin pink lips and gave another to Nisha. Nisha always wanted to have this cheap local made chocolate since her childhood, but she never touched anything bellow imported branded chocolates in her entire life.
Nisha took one from Monami and ate it. The chocolate is probably made from not permitted color and definitely not low calorie, but Nisha never had anything so tasty. Nisha gave a cordial smile to Monami and asked, “ What is the meaning of your name?’
‘Monami is a French word means my friend. Hey Nisha, want to see something cool?” Monami showed Nisha her tongue. It was deep red from the color of the chocolate.
“No way” Nisha tried to see her own tongue by looking downward by forcing her eyeballs to the extreme; she must have looked very funny, since Monami was laughing her brains out. Though Nisha could understand within few minutes of their acquainted time that Monami needs very little reason to laugh.
Nisha was the only child of her industrialist father who wanted a boy as his heir to run the business empire. Since it was a late marriage, Nisha was all they had. After several doctors and several deities, finally they could understand that Nisha is the only child they could physically afford. Her father was devastated. He cursed Nisha’s mother for her incapability to give birth of a male child and become busier in his business. Nisha could understand the situation from her childhood and tried to fill up the blanks by becoming a son to gain love and trust of her parents. She dressed up like a boy; she mixed with boys more even she talked like boys. She grows up to become a tom boy with a female in her body and male in mind. The harder Nisha tried to cover up her feminine symptoms, the faster they appeared in her body. Proposal came along with her age, so she purposefully dressed up like a mess to avoid praying eyes. Soon she successfully converts her to a total non-attractive non-existent entity. But as the time goes, she felt lonely. She could never take place of her never born brother and she killed the feminine Nisha long ago in her own hand. Suspended between identities What Nisha always longed for is one true friend, with whom she could share. She always wanted to cry, laugh, gossip and quarrel with somebody, Nisha was in a need of a friend, badly.
Monami was living in an exact opposite pole as compare with Nisha. She is jovial, frank, always bubbling with energy and adorable girl. She was the center of attraction in a group, even if she is not, she never cared. A minute alone, and she became restless to talk with somebody, anybody.
How Monami and Nisha became friends, it was not very clear to Nisha. Nisha always avoided girly talk, but something was in Monami’s character that Nisha could not avoid. It is a proven fact that opposite pole attracts, and so did Nisha and Monami. They became best friends, and just then Nisha could understand that she loves Monami.
What are the symptoms of love? Nisha asked this question many times herself. Is it the restlessness when you do not see each other for few hours? Is it the lough you burst out in the silly jokes of each other’s? Is it the sharing the sunset together? Or is it the sharing the food from same plate in the street corner? If any answer of the mentioned question is yes, then she is in deep love with Monami.
Nisha was waiting for her in the college compound when two little sweaty palms covered her eyes from behind.
“You are late you witch. Come, sit here.” Nisha gave a sigh of relief as she is finally with Monami.
‘Not fair, you always identify my touch. ‘ Monami sit on the grass with false anger. Nisha kept on looking at her bright eyes and thought, “you are the only friend I have, so it was never too difficult to guess”
Monami was breathing heavily with excitement and was thinking something. Nisha noticed that and asked her in a cautious voice. “Something fishy? Why my Kashmir apple is extra red today?’
Monami looked at Nisha and hide her face in false shame. She stopped for a moment, and blushed and told in a hush tone, “today Rahul proposed me, and I told yes.”
Darkness engulfed the sunny day in a moment in front of Nisha’s eyes. The whole world melted in a thick sludge. Oh god!! Why always it happens with me? Why Rahul? Rahul is a Casanova type boy in her collage. He changes his girlfriend every month like his car. Why he suddenly become interested in her Monami? Monami may be cute, but she never falls under the category of heavenly beauty, neither had she dressed like one. Why Nisha could not tell Monami the feelings of her heart. She thought that Monami will understand. So it was one sided!!”
Nisha took a deep breath and asked Monami in slow tone, ‘Are you sure about Rahul? I mean, you know him. Why he suddenly became interested in you of all girls. Monami was literally surprised by this changed tone of Nisha. ‘Yes, I was also skeptic about it, but then I realized that some people are difficult to judge. He even told me that beauty is always skin deep as it is eternal. Are you not happy with my decision?
“Yes off course I am, you witch. I am really happy for you, Congratulation. ” Nisha said these words as convincingly she could.
As the time passed by Monami became closer to Rahul and farther away from Nisha. She was too busy with spending time with Rahul and his friend circle that she could hardly manage few minutes for Nisha. Time spending in each other’s company became shorter and shorter along with the length of Monami’s skirt. Nisha returned to her darkest solitary corner of her alone life, where she belongs.
Nisha came early to her class. For last few days she stopped waiting for Monami. Last evening Monami came looking for her and pulled her in girl’s room jiggling.
“What is the matter? Please make it quick, my class is about to begin.” Nisha wanted this very moment to never end, but she was not showing it.
Momami took out a box from her bag to reveal a black dress from it. The whole dress is made from a see through material and finished even before it starts.
‘Don’t you think it is too short, too revealing?” Nisha never wanted to allow anybody to see her love like that.
Monami gave a quick look over her shoulder as she heard footsteps outside, and placed her finger over Nisha’s lips to make her stop. Nisha wanted to kiss her finger and for a moment, she forgot everything. She wanted to hug Monami so tight, that she never able to break free from her again. Nisha became weak for a moment till the next sentence from Monami.
“Rahul invited me for a private party tonight at his father’s hotel, where he is living nowadays in a vacant suite. He even bought this dress for me and requested me to wear it as nobody else will be present over there.’ Monami said these words in a very low tone after she made sure that the footsteps have faded in distance.
“Okay, best of luck for tonight. Now if you please excuse me, I have a class to attend”. Nisha never looked back to see the surprise in Monam’s face by her rudeness as she rushed out from the toilet. Even if she looked back, it was very difficult to see,as her eyes were filled with tears.
Nisha came early to her class next day. Chatter was going on inside the class which suddenly stopped after noticing her. Something was not right and Nisha could feel it.
‘What’s going on?” She asked her class representative.
“Watch the video I am sending you. You rather see it with your own eyes’ the class representative told in a tone mixed with disgust and comic.
Nisha received the file from the girl and opened to find the MMS. Even before viewing it she knows what was inside.
It was a scene of killing the innocence and trust. Intimate act of a loving girl was filmed by her unfaithful partner who found it very amusing to share it with his friends as a trophy of his game.
Nisha rushed out of her class and looking for Monami. As she passed the classes and gathering of students, she could understand very well that the video went viral and Monami’s private parts are on display in their mobile. Nisha could not take it anymore and she starts running, just then she noticed Monami in the bench where they first met.
Nisha came and sit beside Monami without saying anything. She was not even looking at her. Nisha wanted Monami to cry. Nisha wanted Monami to curse Rahul and rest her head on Nisha’s shoulder. But Monami did nothing. She sat there aimlessly for almost an hour without saying anything. Nisha was also glued beside her.
It was Nisha who first broke the silence between them. “Why you are not saying anything? Why you are not doing anything?”
“My father knows everything. He also received a copy of the MMS today morning from his friend who forwarded it without knowing it that the girl in the act was his daughter. Tell me Nisha, what will I say after this? What should I do after this? What you expect me to do?”
Nisha could not say anything. She keep on looking the grass bellow their feet. Then Monami opened her bag.
“Do you know, you have to pull the hammer all the way back before you squeeze the trigger? I took it from my father’s desk.”
‘Off course I know that what you have to do with it. My father is also having one. What do you want to do with it? Kill yourself? Is my friend that coward?“ Nisha sounded strong to infect Monami with her toughness.
“Kill myself? I will not lie to you, that idea did come in to my mind.”
“What are you telling? Are you mad? If you stumble on the road and fall. will you sit over there and cry? Or you will get up and wash your dirt and keep on walking?” Nisha asked impatiently.
“Wash my dirt? Get up and keep walking?” Monami repeats after Nisha.
Exactly what you should do. Now get up and carry on with your life. Don’t forget, you are not alone in this. I am always with you.” Nisha hold the hands of Monami.
Next day Nisha looked for Monami everywhere, but she could not find her. Every time she ranged her, her call got disconnected. Nisha really felt worried for Monami. Nisha could not contact Monami even on the next day and day after that.
So she decided to contact Rahul as her last resort. It might have happened that Monami went back to Rahul as a shameless bitch.
Nisha called him. Somebody picked up the phone from the other side after a while.
“ Hello? Am I speaking with Rahul Kulkarni?’
‘No, it is Maharastra Police. Are you a friend of his?”
“We study in the same college. I am Nisha Bhardwaj, anything wrong? Voice of Nisha trembled in excitement and apprehension.
“Sorry to inform you Miss Nisha, you friend has been shot dead last night in his family owned hotel.”
The earth beneath Nisha’s feet took a sharp spin as she hanged up.
Nisha paused for a moment after finishing her story. She asked for a glass of water as her throat was dried up due to non-stop talking. Both of the officers looked at her without blinking their eyes while she was finishing her glass.
“ We told you before beginning that we need truth from you and still you trying to deceive us by hiding behind a lame lie.”
Nisha was impatient, “What are you talking about!! How can I make you believe that each and every word is true, and I amnot hiding anything from you. What you want to do? Are you suspecting me for the murder of Rahul Kulkarni?”
The male police officer repeated the exact words of Nisha, but in a emotionless, slow tone;
“We are suspecting you for the murder of Rahul Kulkarni”
“This is rubbish, why don’t you call Monami, and validate my statement, each and every word of it. But, I beg you; please do not mention anything about my feelings about her. That was my personal feelings and I like to keep it like that.”
The female officer gave a straight look towards Nisha and told; “Miss Nisha, Let me put it very straight, in your collage, there was not a single girl named Monami, or any girl who fits your description. Not in Economics, not in any other class.”
“Are you sure? There must be some mistake. Why don’t you ask other students about her?”
“We did a through enquiry, and no other student but you could confirm her identity. Nobody in your college saw Monami ever.”
“Moreover, we got this footage from security camera from the hotel of the murder night,”
The middle aged male police officer left his place to switch on a computer, where blurry image of a video footage showed a passage of a hotel. The officer forwarded the video to the scene where a girl entered a particular door of a room. Within few minutes the girl came out of the room and just before she left, she looked sideways, from where her face was somewhat clearly visible in the clip. The officer paused and zoom the image to give a clear view of the face. It was Nisha. The image was not clear, but the face had a remarkable resemblance with Nisha.
Nisha could not believe her eyes. She buried her head in the table and cried out loud, “How this is possible!! I have never been to that hotel! I killed nobody!”
The officer came closer now. “ Nisha, tell me honestly. Does this ‘Monami’ even exist? Why did you do this? Why you killed Rahul?”
“No sir, please believe me, I am innocent. Why should I kill Rahul? How would I kill him? Why don’t you ask Monami if she did it or not?’
“Where is that girl Nisha, where is Monami? Why nobody other than you saw her?” The officer shouted and gave a big slam on the table.
Nisha just remembered something. She brings out her mobile and asked permission to switch it on. The officer nodded, and Nisha browsed for the MMS which was the only proof of her innocence and existence of Monami. Nisha played the video and said,
“ Now look with your own eyes, Monami was with Rahul or not.”
In the video a couple was busy in their love act. The boy was filming it and the woman in it allowed him as she offered herself to the promise which supposed to be fulfilled, to the trust which was never to be broken.
The girl in the video was Nisha. For the first time in her life she wanted to become a woman, through her body and through her mind. All she wanted to feel the pleasure of being a woman.
The officers looked at the video and surprisingly looked at Nisha. They tried to understand wither it was her acting or she was schizophrenic. She was crying. Her forceful armor of toughness of a boy was not there, when she cried, she looked like a girl. She looked like Monami.
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